Articles & Advisories

Trusts and Estate Update: Duress as an Objection to Probate

In Matter of Rosasco, 31 Misc3d 1214(A), the Surrogate’s Court, New York County (Glen, S.). engaged in a thorough analysis of the theory of duress as it applied to Surrogate’s Court practice, and more particularly, the validity of a propounded will. Notably, in denying petitioner’s motion for summary judgment on...

“Tax-Free” Exchanges May Not Be Free of Tax

Business owners love to hear the words “tax-free” when considering the disposition of business assets. Unfortunately, many fail to grasp that a tax-free dis-position is rarely free of tax in the sense of never being taxed; rather, the recognition and taxation of the gain inherent in the asset is deferred. Business...

Wills, Trusts & Estates: To Gift, Or Not To Gift…

Due to current tax laws, giving assets to loved ones (“gifting”) while you are alive, in order to reduce estate taxes your heirs will need to pay on their inheritance from you, is not the ‘no-brainer’ it used to be. It may make sense, from a tax savings standpoint, to...

Spot Zoning Challenges Rarely Are Successful

Rezoning decisions that are carefully thought out and well-reasoned are unlikely to be reversed as “spot zoning,” New York court decisions suggest. When a property owner or developer successfully obtains a zoning change for a particular parcel of land, neighbors or other community members or groups may challenge the decision in...

Brownfield Cleanup Program Guidance Is Nearly Final

State Environmental Regulation The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYSDEC”) appears close to finalizing revisions to important guidelines for the state’s brownfield cleanup program (“BCP”). This is good news for property owners, developers, and local government officials because once these revised guidelines are approved, there will be a clearer...

New SEQRA Regulations Finally Appear On the Horizon

In September 2012, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYSDEC”) proposed the most significant changes to the regulations governing the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) since the mid-1990s. It accepted comments and the comment period closed. In the years that followed, however, the NYSDEC did not finalize the...

The Eligibility of a Fiduciary

While deference is accorded to the testator’s selection of a fiduciary, there are circumstances when judicial intervention is required in order to safeguard the interests of the estate and satisfy statutory dictates. Recently, Surrogate’s Courts have had the opportunity to consider this issue, as evidenced by the decisions that follow. Administrator...

Estate Planning for Families with Children Who Have Special Needs

Estate planning for families who have children with special needs is similar to estate planning for families who do not have special needs children. From an estate tax perspective, the considerations do not differ.  The key, however, is to make sure that any funds or other assets put aside for...

New SEQRA Regulations Finally Appear On the Horizon

In September 2012, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYSDEC”) proposed the most significant changes to the regulations governing the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) since the mid-1990s. It accepted comments and the comment period closed. In the years that followed, however, the NYSDEC did not finalize the...

Eligibility of Residential Developments for IDA Benefits

A court decision upholds what has long been understood to be the rule: Residential developments are eligible to receive IDA benefits. It has been nearly 50 years since the New York State Legislature enacted legislation authorizing industrial development agencies (“IDAs”) for the purpose of promoting economic development. Now, towns, cities, and...

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